“Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” Ephesians 4:3 (NIV)
Unity of the Spirit is different from religious harmony. Unity of the Spirit is not based on the lowest common denominator. It is not about getting the most people together, or rallying around a cause. Religious unity will ultimately birth a one world religion. That’s what they are trying to do right now as they make efforts to create an AI written Bible that is error free and everyone will be happy about it! Religious unity forces harmony for tolerance sake. But unity of the Spirit is different because Jesus and the cross are central and the Holy Spirit is the glue. Our unity is not doctrinal, or denominational. It is not ecumenical, but word centered. It is not race biased, but scripture based and Holy Spirit inspired. No wonder it is called “unity of the Spirit!” Sure, our statements of faith matter, what we believe is absolutely critical. But our unity needs to have a much higher bar, a standard based on the essentials of our faith.
The highest commandment is to love one another, but boy, that can be twisted. Love today can refer to a man and a child, or two women, or a person and an animal. Love today can be seen as not wanting to offend anyone, which leads to compromise and watering down the word of God. Love can be defined as agreeing with me. In other words, if you don’t accept and agree with what I believe then you are not loving me. Some equate love with tolerance, but the Bible clearly calls us to love the person but hate the sin (Jude 1:22-23)! Jesus loved us sinners, but never intended us to stay that way!!!
Also, it is hard to build unity with people who have accepted a bunker down mentality. They believe Jesus is coming soon to rescue His broken church from the gross darkness overwhelming the world. But that is simply twisting the word. Yes, Jesus is coming back, but for a bride who has readied herself (Revelation 19:7).
It is hard to build unity when people deny, restrict and control the work of the Holy Spirit. After all, we’re told to do whatever it takes to maintain the unity of the Spirit. Get that, it’s not just unity, but unity of the Spirit! The lie that has permeate throughout so much of the church has been that the Holy Spirit doesn’t do what He did at first. This is called cessationism. It is a Christianity without power. Those who don’t want the Holy Spirit around are missing the point and require the bar of unity to be dropped really low!
Bottomline is we build unity around mission and passion for Jesus! The last words that Jesus left us with before His ascension was commanding us to go to the whole world and disciple nations (Matthew 28:18-20, Acts 1:7-8). As far as I can tell, that task is not finished! He said we were to occupy till He returns (Luke 19:13), that is we are to do His business until He comes back. In fact, He said we were to do even greater things, not lessor things (John 14:12). We are called to be God’s warriors, His ambassadors, His children in this hour. We are never told to bunker down and wait for Jesus to rescue us! Our job is not done. In fact, creation is waiting for the manifestation of the sons and daughter of God (Romans 8:19). It doesn’t say creation is waiting for Jesus to return! God is looking for a people who are passionate for Him, who will lay their lives down for His sake, and to make seeking His presence their top priority. That is what we build unity around. Unity is for His ekklesia, those who choose to do His work and to seek His presence via the Holy Spirit. That is the bar that is set for true unity of the Spirit!
Cry out for a people to rise up, who will seek His presence and be passionate about His mission. Ask for a Holy Spirit awakening in the body of Christ. Ask the Lord to do it in you! Cry out for those you know who are bunkering down. Pray that the Holy Spirit would fill them afresh with mission and passion. Pray for your pastor, to make Jesus’ mission his priority and seeking Him his highest passion. Pray that your pastor would be filled to overflowing with the Holy Spirit. Pray for the churches around Athens to be Holy Spirit awakened to this calling to mission together and seeking His presence as one ekkelsia, Jesus’ bride! Pray for true unity of the Spirit to happen in our city!